This video is about our time recording features at our archaeological site, at Molalla. GPS is a useful tool for archaeology and helps to orient us in space.
This year, the Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology field school had the opportunity to continue excavation where 2015’s FMIA had left off. We found ourselves working in quite the site — a privy, or outhouse, is a dream for historical archaeologists and an oddity to everyone else. In their day, privies were a common place to throw trash and are now great places to find historical artifacts.
This year we uncovered the previous layers’ excavation by removing back-fill down to a tarp they had placed to save their position and prevent contamination of deeper layers. As we moved deeper we had to open up adjacent units to accommodate excavation of the privy and minimize the danger of a wall collapsing. Aided by the boons of clear stratigraphy and soil changes, we eventually unveiled the privy cap further, and uncovered the gravel path that students walked from the schoolhouse to the privy.
Working at a historic site has been a privilege. Through meetings with the community and the work of our field schools archival efforts, we’ve been able to put the stories and experiences of people in the community to the work we have been doing makes their histories tangible. It brings a very human connection to the archaeology.
Special thanks to the FMIA 2016 Field School photographers!
I was first thinking of doing my digital short story on the gradiometer’s setup, use, and data analysis, but while filming the gradiometer, the team encountered a lot of issues. By accident I got the opportunity to film those problems and ultimately I decided that documenting how they assessed and re-adjusted to the situation was a better story, and relatable within any profession. “Assess and Re-adjust” tells the story of how the FMIA gradiometer team met challenges through the prospective of the survey leader, Alejandre Barrera.
Inspired by the idea of agriculturally managed landscapes also known as Food Forests, this video explores the possibility of Fort Yamhill as a Food Forest. This concept of landscape is to decolonize and prioritize indigenous perspectives in how the land managed and used. Digital Story by Tiauna Cabillan
This video outlines the food offered at the Agency School House according to the archival documents written about the time (1863-1905). It includes letters written to the Superintendent, Andrew Kershaw, reports written by Andrew Kershaw, and reports by C.M Sawtelle. If the video is paused you can see how food was being used and the importance it had on the interpretation of “civilizing” the Native Americans.
Accessed from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Archives using LaserFiche, July 2016.
J., M. S. “Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs.” Letter to Superintendent Indian School. 19 Feb. 1901. MS. Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Grand Ronde, OR. Finance An.est. 1902. Reproduced at the national Archives-Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle)
Larrabee, C. J. “Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs.” Letter to Superintendent, Grande Ronde School, Oregon. 15 Apr. 1905. MS. Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Grand Ronde, OR.
Lonner, A. C. “Department of the Indian Interior, Office of Indian Affairs.” Letter to The Superintendent, U. S. Indian School, Grandronde, Oregon. 20 Aug. 1900. MS. Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Grand Ronde, OR. Finance 38675/1900 Authy 66909 Reproduction at the National Archives-Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle).
Lonner, A. C. “Department of The Interior Office of Indian Affairs.” Letter to The Superintendent Grand Ronde School, Or. 13 June 1902. MS. Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Grand Ronde, OR.
Lonner, A. C. “Department of the Interiors, Office of Indian Affairs.” Letter to The Superintendent, Grande Ronde School, Oregon. 7 May 1901. MS. Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Grand Ronde, OR. Finance 23825/1901 Reproduced at the National Archives-Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle).
Kershaw, Andrew. Report Concerning Indians in Oregon, Report of Superintendent in Charge of Grande Ronde Agency. Rep. no. 352. Grande Ronde:, 1900. Print
United States. Office of Indian Affairs Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1863 G.P.O., 
United States. Office of Indian Affairs Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1902 Part I G.P.O., 
United States. Office of Indian Affairs Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1905 Part I G.P.O., 
This video explores an intensive surface collection method that Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology is implementing in its assessments of tribal cultural resources on the Grand Ronde reservation. Referred to as the Catch-and-Release method, it maximizes our ability to collect relevant site data while minimizing ground impact. Catch and Release is designed as part of a low-impact archaeological methodology that attempts to reduce harm to both tribal cultural resources and the contemporary tribal community by integrating cultural protocols and values into our field practice.
When ethnoecologist Dr. Joyce Lecompte-Mastenbrook came to visit FMIA at Grand Ronde, she led a wonderful plant walk around the edges of the Molalla Encampment Site and showed us all the edible plants that surround the site. I had no idea that so many edible and medicinal plants were so close to where we had been working for weeks. During the plant walk she mentioned that the Molalla site was a permaculture Food Forest, which are permanent agriculturally managed places where people have access to food. I became really interested in the concept of Food Forests.
According to the Permaculture Institute, Food Forests are designed to meet the needs of the community as well as produce a habitat beneficial for wildlife and increased ecological resilience and diversity. The website discussed how Food Forests are not necessarily “natural” but are specifically designed and managed. One of the goals of permaculture is to regenerate degraded landscapes to their former health. An example of permaculture put into practice is the Beacon Hill Food Forest in Seattle, Washington. Their goals are similar to that of the Permaculture Institute in that they want to rehabilitate the local ecosystem while bringing the community together to grow their own food. The Beacon Hill Food Forest strives to follow permaculture methods while planning to plant for the needs of the diverse community. It also hopes to combine native plants with a mixture of other edible gardening plants.
Nisqually tribal member and Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Billy Frank Jr. also discusses the idea of Food Forests in his article Every Forest Once a Food Forest on Northwest Treaty Tribes. He discusses that for indigenous people, “all of Western Washington was once a food forest.” He also writes about how projects like the Beacon Hill Food Forest in Seattle are important because they are trying to repair the landscape from a condition that doesn’t allow for natural food forests and first foods to thrive. He hopes these projects include plants that have long been used by indigenous communities.
The Molalla Encampment Site is similar to what Billy Frank Jr. describes. While it is a public place that is frequently used by campers attending Grand Ronde powwows, it is in a fairly natural area and produces a large variety of co-existing edible plants that need minimal management. With its meadow-like managed state, the site also provides a productive environment for plants and animals (Joyce Lecompte-Mastenbrook). Molalla also includes Indigenous plants as well as introduced plants. For example, the site has Indigenous plants like trailing blackberries, service berries, and native crab apples but also has introduced Himalayan blackberries and pear trees. It’s interesting to think about how long these plants have been growing around Molalla and who might have planted and used them in the past.
Working on the topic of edible and medicinal plants at the Molalla encampment showed me that every forest can be a Food Forest if you know what you’re looking for and how to use it. It has made me think even more about how resources are everywhere and occur naturally. I definitely will keep this in mind when looking at landscapes in the future.
Check out some of the edible/medicinal plants at the Molalla Encampment in the video below:
Beacon Food Forest
N.d. Beacon Food Forest Permaculture Project. Beacon Food Forest. Beaconfoodforest.org, accessed July 19, 2016.
Frank, Billy Jr
2016 Every Forest Once a Food Forest. Northwest Treaty Tribes: Protecting Natural Resources for Everyone. Nwtreatytribes.org/every-forest-once-a-food-forest/, accessed July 19, 2016.
2016 Molalla Encampment Site Plant Walk. Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology Field School.
N.d. Permaculture Resources. Permaculture Institute. www.permaculture.org/resources, accessed July 19, 2016.